Environment Quote

Quote of the Day

“[W]e can’t repair the effects of past behaviour on our atmosphere as quickly and as easily as we might cleanse a stream or river. It will take, for example, until the second half of the next century, until the old age of my [Michael Thatcher] grandson, to repair the damage to the ozone layer above the Antarctic.

And some of the gases we are adding to the global heat trap will endure in the Earth’s atmosphere for just as long.

The IPCC tells us that, on present trends, the earth will warm up faster than at any time since the last ice age.

Weather patterns could change so that what is now wet would become dry, and what is now dry would become wet. Rising seas could threaten the livelihood of that substantial part of the world’s population which lives on or near coasts. The character and behaviour of plants would change, some for the better, some for worse. Some species of animals and plants would migrate to different zones or disappear for ever. Forests would die or move. And deserts would advance as green fields retreated.

Many of the precautionary actions that we need to take would be sensible in any event. It is sensible to improve energy efficiency and use energy prudently; it’s sensible to develop alternative and sustainable and sensible … it’s sensible to improve energy efficiency and to develop alternative and sustainable sources of supply; it’s sensible to replant the forests which we consume; it’s sensible to re-examine industrial processes; it’s sensible to tackle the problem of waste. I understand that the latest vogue is to call them ‘no regrets’ policies. Certainly we should have none in putting them into effect.

And our uncertainties about climate change are not all in one direction. The IPCC report is very honest about the margins of error.

Climate change may be less than predicted. But equally it may occur more quickly than the present computer models suggest. Should this happen it would be doubly disastrous were we to shirk the challenge now. I see the adoption of these policies as a sort of premium on insurance against fire, flood or other disaster. It may be cheaper or more cost-effective to take action now than to wait and find we have to pay much more later.” Margaret Thatcher on the climate crisis

This is what separates Thatcher from modern American conservatives: her willingness to accept science rather than to embarrass herself with conspiracy theories and childish, nearsighted denialism.

  • muselet

    Kevin Drum yesterday:

    … [T]oday’s Conservative Party would be reasonably recognizable to Thatcher. She could run for the party leadership tomorrow and have a good chance of winning it. But today’s Republican Party wouldn’t elect Reagan dogcatcher, let alone president. Despite the endless hagiography of Reagan from conservatives, the plain truth is that if he were reincarnated today, Ted Cruz would denounce him as a socialist and the tea party would disown him.

    Read Drum’s piece, it’s short. Avoid the comments, they’re (mostly) neurotoxic.


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Norris/1597765442 Michael Norris

    I’m sorry, Bob. I read your column everyday. But today I simply couldn’t take it. It wasn’t you, or even the discourse you were trying to present, it was her. I got about halfway throuigh your essay and I just had to stop. My brain was screaming at me, “Danger! exposure to Sarah Palin Effect imminent! Sweet Jesus, make her go away!” I found that I can’t handle the Palin taumatic effect anymore. From now on I intend to treat any article, column, news report, or even simple conversation about Sarah Palin like radiation. Stay away!–Time, distance, and shielding the best way to protect oneself from ionizing radiation or the adverse effects of too much exposure to Sarah Palin.